When you bring up the topic of being mindful, you can instantly tell who is open to a discussion that might be considered new-agey. To me, being mindful is about living in the moment and slowing down. When you are 100% engaged in an activity and immerse all of your senses in whatever it is that you are doing, the quality of that experience is heightened.
To teach is to learn, and that is what I do here on these blogs, on this website, and all other social media activities. (I just started Periscope!). I write, talk and teach about topics I need to work on – from fitness to spirituality. We are all constantly learning and evolving. I am NOT the same person I was ten, twenty, or thirty years ago. And the more I evolve, the more I realize I not only need to stop and smell the roses — I want to!
When I was growing up, I got the encyclopedia and physically turned the pages to research a specific topic. I remember smelling the ink on the paper, and feeling how soft it was. Now, we have so much information readily available at our fingertips by tapping a few keys on our mobile phones. I remember when I had to use a map or stop and ask directions. Now, I type the address into Google Maps and some unknown voice tells me how to get to my destination. On a few occasions, however, she was way, way off.
I’m all for information technology and the wonderful advantages it has brought to us, but it’s the simple things that bring us the most joy; like smiling at a baby and watching his or her face light up into a huge grin. We can look at photos of exotic locations to which we’d like to travel, but it’s not the same as being there, is it? The sights, smells and sounds are much different.
Being mindful is a technique you can practice constantly. The very act of physically engaging – not just reading, listening or looking with our eyes – but a total sensory perception of what it is you are doing every moment can greatly reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and help prevent heart attacks. We are a nation of overachievers, but sometimes it is truly magnificent to stop in front of a garden, look at each gorgeous flower petal, feel its silky softness and inhale the sweet scent. On a recent trip to Napa Valley, I realized the importance of immersing myself 150% into the experience of just tasting wine. You look at the color, smell and identify the fruit and the wine’s essence, then take time to really taste. We had great conversations and wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.
Set a timer a couple of times throughout the day to be mindful of that moment. Chew your food more slowly. Engage in a friendly hug a moment longer or breathe the fresh air when you first walk outside. Watch an entire sun setting into the horizon. In stillness of every breathtaking moment is when we receive inspiration, are mindful and truly live in the moment.